PR RELEASE: Executive Career Coach And Speaker Launches Book On Career Courage



katie kelley profile_cropped_v1Author: Katie C. Kelley

Books Name: Career Courage

Literary Agent: Michael Snell Agency

Editor: Ellen Kadin

Publisher: American Management Association, New York



Executive Career Coach And Speaker Launches Book On Career Courage


Successful executive coach and speaker Katie C. Kelley has released a book focused around ‘Career Courage’. Providing executive coaching, the book walks readers through the vital process of analyzing their motivations and taking stock of strengths to muster the courage to take the next step in their career.


Including inspiring stories of people who hit critical junctures and broke through fears and limitations to make a change, Career Courage offers guideposts for finding your true calling and improving your ability to take risks, build alliances, project confidence, and create trust and goodwill in your life and work. It offers strategies and insights from a seasoned career coach who serves as a personal guide through the questioning and development process ahead.


Katie is People Development Director for Fuerst Group, parent company of KEEN footwear and Chrome Industries. Her own career pivots include stints as a psychotherapist, a medical salesperson, an ABC Television contributor, and, most recently, as an executive coach with clients that included Google and Time Inc.


An inspiring and easy read that gave me focus and drive to figure out where I’m going with my career. This book made me reassess what I’m doing in my current role, if I have the right balance in each part of my life and where I want to be. Until reading this I wasn’t able to grasp how I have enabled myself to become comfortable with just collecting a paycheck versus finding career happiness. Now I feel motivated to make adjustments and armed with knowledge on how to do so. I highly recommend this for those seeking career guidance and focus.

Erin Courtney, Financial Executive


To celebrate the launch, Katie has partnered with organizations such as CNN, Time Warner and Google, as well as Universities such as the University of Pennsylvania, Emory University and the University of Oregon, to offer premium Career Courage workshops for students and employees.


Career Courage is being distributed on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and an audio book will soon be released on iTunes, Overdrive and Audible.




Katie C. Kelley

C/O Editor – Ellen Kadin

American Management Association

1601 Broadway #8

New York

NY 10019


Keyword Tags:

Career Courage, Career, Jobs, Passion, Success, Drive, Motivation, Professionals, Students, Millennials, Guidance




The Why & The How of My Recent Career Pivot

unnamedTwo months ago I accepted a freshly minted role at Fuerst Group (KEEN Footwear, Chrome Industries and other entities) as their People + Culture Development Director. Today, I wanted to share with you why and how I made this substantial career pivot in response to a flurry of inquiries around how this move came about.

But before I begin, I will continue to thank EACH OF YOU (picture on the left highlights some of those very special people) for your awe-inspiring support and cheer-leading throughout the past six years. Your sponsorship, endorsements and engagement have made my entrepreneurial years with Katie Kelley Networks fundamentally possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The Why

First, a quick run-down of my career journey by the years:

• 21-30 years old: Earned my license and practiced psychotherapy at New York Presbyterian Hospital[ (Boston & NYC)
• 30-33: My medical sales & management development years with Novartis (NYC)
• 34-40: Ran my own coaching and consulting business (Katie Kelley Networks out of Portland, Oregon)
• 40: Accepted dream in-house role as People + Culture Development Director (Fuerst Group, Portland)

When my husband Tom and I met and fell in love in NYC, we set our sights on Portland, Oregon as a small town where we could build a life that fit our western roots. We quit our jobs and drove cross country into Portlandia (into a monsoon-like rainstorm, of course) seven and a half years ago. We could count on one hand the people we knew here. I was eager to experiment with bridging my clinical training with the business world and knowing our first daughter was on her way into the world, it seemed like an opportune time to start a business that allowed me the creativity and flexibility I needed. I launched my business in the spring of 2009.

It was a fantastic six year run. Throughout the years, I coached and developed primarily women headed towards, or holding, senior-level business roles. I hustled (a lot); I networked (my tail off); I spoke on many stages and around many kitchen tables (which were the most rewarding experiences); I wrote and produced three years of television segments; I got to teach alongside my mentor, Cindy Tortorici; I partnered with brilliant companies in New York City; and I wrote a book, Career Courage: Discover Your Passion, Step Out of Your Comfort Zone and Create the Life You Want, set to be released in spring of 2016 by American Management Association (another big thank you to my agent Michael Snell).

And then I turned the “big 4-0” last summer.

Whether it was the number 40 itself, or simply the fact that it was a milestone demanding me to take stock of the bigger picture, I realized that I had found what I sought out to discover when I started my business six years earlier. I had yearned for the opportunity to serve in the most purposeful way and, ultimately, organizational people development is where my entrepreneurial journey led me. Further, in order to ensure my potential was maximized, I discovered that it was essential to come on board with a company who believed in a people development role for their organization’s future evolution.

However, coming to the above revelation was a messy and confusing process. Even though it’s all crystal clear today, does not mean that making this career pivot was easy. I had invested a great deal of personal energy and resources into my original dream of running a successful business. I had to de-program myself from an identity that simply no longer fit the person I had evolved into and the journey I wanted to pursue next.

The “ah-ha” moment came as I was nearing completion of my forthcoming book Career Courage. I followed the counsel of the seventy leaders and mentors whom I interviewed for the book and soon came upon the revelation that now was the time to make my own bold career move.
Endless thanks to my husband, my mentors and my friends who reflected back to me who they saw in me today and hoisted me upwards and pushed me forward. These people are the golden gems in our lives that should never be undervalued.


The How

The universe helped me float downstream for the remainder of this story.

KEEN Footwear was one of the companies where I served as an executive coach over the past few years. I always loved my experiences working with their management team and could see that their strength of talent and culture was remarkable. Fast forward to January 2015. I had a casual coffee meeting with my associate at KEEN, the Vice President of Global People + Culture. I updated her on my career revelation and shared how some of my recent job interviews were going. This organically led to a conversation about how I might come on board at KEEN (and then onto their holding company, Fuerst Group) and what type of role would be created around my unique background and skill set.

I almost fell out of my seat when I heard this hypothetical proposal. This was the dream role I sought as it would allow me to help this organization create their people development initiatives from scratch. KEEN Footwear is a family-owned, 12-year-old company who is positioning to double their growth over the next three years. Our mission is to earn loyal fans by being the most original and inspiring footwear brand in the world. Needless to say, I’ve found my professional home base and am loving it.

So, where does all of this leave Katie Kelley Networks? Don’t go anywhere! While KKN no longer offers any business services, I am looking forward to returning to my public speaking role this fall and will be scheduling Career Courage book launch events in Boston, New York and California in 2016. More details to come.

The presiding lesson learned this past year is best summarized by my favorite W.B. Yeats quote: “Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure neither this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”

Wishing you all an outstanding summer season,



The Conundrum of Leadership in the Information Age: Reflections from a Military Leader

University of Portland, upHere is my abridged book interview with Lt. Col. (Ret.) Peter (Pete) L. Rooks, Director for Leadership, Franz Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation at the University of Portland:

“After 21and ½ years in the military and the past 5 years at University of Portland in academic, staff or a consulting role, I have learned that leadership is a journey not a destination.
Leaders are like thermostats, they regulate the temperature in a room. The people in the room are thermometers. It is a leader’s responsibility to push people into an uncomfortable learning zone but they must only raise the temperature enough to a ‘tough love’ zone that translates into: “I know this is stretching your abilities, but you need to do it to grow.””

On direction and destination:
“True leadership assumes that we all already agree on why we are doing something. The challenge is continually telling the story, “we are going in this direction and this is the reason why”.

On organizations today:
“We are living in the Knowledge Age. Leaders are expected to be facilitators of our collective intelligence. Decision making is no longer a singular act, rather a collective conversation. Baby boomers and a lot of Gen X developed around hierarchical structured organizations. Millennials are entering the Knowledge Age workforce that looks and view organizations more as a network (web).

Companies no longer put edicts out, everyone has a vote.

Leaders need to have strong emotional intelligence: they must be able to earn respect and build trust, create and facilitate culture, be people of their word and elevate others. Along the lines of, “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care”, kind of mentality.

The challenge of for profit organizations is that they are continually giving responsibility to rank and file employees who don’t yet have the authority they believe they need to have to get their jobs done. Leaders have to let go of their desire to control and develop others.

To be frank, leaders need to get over themselves. They should focus on the why of their organization not their own. As a major in the 101st Airborne Division I finally ‘got’ this lesson after putting together a training plan for a very successful infantry company, and then rather than an ‘atta boy’, I was immediately called to prepare training plans for three more infantry companies. That’s when I realized it was not about me at all, it was about what I could do to elevate others and replicate success in those around me.

Some of my favorite models around success are:

“1) Jim Collins was never satisfied when people said that successful people were simply lucky and he wanted to investigate exactly what constituted luck. He described ‘who-luck’: If you know who you are and you intentionally go after it every day and put yourself in the right environment, people and opportunities will arise around you to cultivate the success you desire. It was not luck at all, rather hard work. This is why it is critical not to just elect one mentor, but rather to build a personal board of directors that represent your interests.


2) Another success story told by Jim Collins is ‘20 Mile March’: He describes that you should define your win before you start. Create your leadership philosophy first and foremost. Paint a picture of your desired future state. He told the story of two groups that were trying to reach the North Pole. One group plotted out ahead of time they would trek 20 miles every day, no matter what the obstacles or challenges. The second group decided before hand to gauge their daily travel on the weather and the needs of their flora/fauna sampling that they wanted to do along the way. Which group do you think was successful?

3) John Maxwell’s ‘Rule of 5’: John described that if you intentionally take 5 hacks at the tree every day and stick with it you will cut the tree down. Some questions you may ponder while cutting the tree down. Do you change your tool once you see the impact of a particular tool? How long before you give up, regardless of the tool? Eventually the tree will fall. You can create your luck by finding the most effective tool in order to attain your goal in the shortest amount of time.”


Thank you so much Lt. Pete Rooks!




What Mastin Kipp of #TheDailyLove Taught Me About Grace

IMG_20141020_160349Last week, I accepted a casual invitation from a friend to attend Mastin Kipp of The Daily Love’s book (Growing Into Grace) launch event in Portland. I had certainly heard mention of The Daily Love due to his recent segment on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, but I had never actually consumed his work nor read his biography until a couple hours before the event.


Quick overview: A Hollywood music executive by 21 turned drug addict, who got sober then became a viral blogger living out of his ex-girlfriend’s parent’s pool house with a compelling message to tune into our Creator. Intriguing? Yes, but not exactly sure what I was needing from his messages but I was piqued!

Well let me tell you, Mastin knocked my socks off! This guy is outstanding! He organized the evening in a workshop format kicking off with concert level speakers blasting Katy Perry’s “Roar” and mandatory high fives, handshakes and massages for our neighbors (and vice versa). And then the work began. Here were some of my top takeaways (as evidenced by what I could capture on Twitter (that’s me!) that night):
To change your behavior (which is his proclaimed specialty) you have to do 5 things:

1. Get your Brain Working for You
(Clue: Feed it what it uniquely needs so that you are maximizing your efficacy every day)


2. Feel Your Feelings-stop betraying yourself via your decisions
(Clue: Too many of us are walking around with unexpressed feelings that are stunting us developmentally, creatively, emotionally. He led us through a Kundalini Yoga exercise to help up unblock our emotions and I have to admit, it worked!)


3. Forgive and Discover the Grace
(Clue: Your life is waiting for you to move forward despite what has happened. “What you are going through has meaning because answering the right questions will lead us to GRACE.”)



4. Ask Better Questions
(Clue: No matter what has happened to you in life, try to ask better questions about how to help others avoid what transgressions you have experienced and work to help your community become stronger because of what you have gone through. Stunning examples: Malala Yousafzai, Victor Frankel.)


5. Implement
(Clue: Take action to change what you can, support those in your path and harvest the good!)


I thank my friend Janine Francolini of Flawless Foundation for getting me to this event and to Mastin Kipp for his good work in our world. To learn more about Mastin’s work, go to The Daily Love.
Thank you Mastin for setting me on fire!!!


Leadership in the Public Sector: A #SuiteSpot Interview with CA Economic Dev’t Director Kelly Kline

Kelly_Kline_clean_tech_open_blog_postOn career evolution:

“I fall solidly in the middle of Generation X, and like many of my peers, I have been more affected by the grey ceiling than the glass ceiling. The grey ceiling refers to Baby Boomers who have yet to relinquish their posts and send the clear message, “this is our ground.” One of the fundamental questions I struggled with early on in my career was where could I find a place for my particular vision and drive. In my chosen field of local government there is low tolerance for risk, and because any new changes are subject to intensive public review, it can be a challenge to foster innovation, entrepreneurism, and creativity.”

On negotiation:

“The art of negotiating is actually more methodical than people tend to think, and if you believe you are not great at it, it can feel risky. I think people who have a high level of influence tend to be good at it. If you are too conciliatory and want everyone to get along, negotiating can be challenging.





I went to a three week executive course at Harvard’s Kennedy School where  we engaged in several exercises to overcome common mis-perceptions about negotiation skills. There, I discovered that negotiation is not a zero sum game and that it is very much about observing behavior patterns, parlaying information and resources and leveraging our communities. Realizing that I did not have to be perfect really helped free me in my approach to negotiations. I learned to force myself to be confident with my own transparency and found power in that process—the ability to say, “I don’t know the right answer here, but let’s work together to find the best solution for all of us”.”

On risk taking:

“I had never thought of myself as a risk taker at my workplace, until a 360 degree feedback process informed me than many of my colleagues perceived me to be one. This was so freeing for me because, prior to this acknowledgement, I had always thought it was something I was not great at, and thus, I did not work to expand or even practice it. Understanding that this was a trait my co-workers did in fact think I was particularly skilled with, resulted in me feeling more encouraged to be creative, innovative and expansive. There are very few public leaders who have created safe spaces for their employees to make mistakes. This is something we need to do more of and work to create this kind of thinking environment since we all know we can’t continue to do things the old way, no matter what industry we call home.”


Why Intel Executive Doug Fisher Doesn’t Have an Office

indexI recently had the privilege of sitting down with Douglas Fisher, Vice President and General Manager of Software and Services Group at Intel to interview him for my forthcoming book, The Suite Spot. Here is an abridged version of that conversation:

On confidence:
“I like the scene in the Tom Cruise NASCAR movie, Days of Thunder, where he is driving though a fire-filled tunnel. He learns to keep his pedal down and keep driving forward, because eventually the fire will pass and he’ll come out the other end a victor. This takes a certain kind of confidence and is relevant for working in the fast moving technology sector. For me, working in technology, if you wait for all the data to make a decision you are all ready too late. My job is hinged upon constantly making critical pre-emptive decisions based on imperfect data and tolerating seemingly relentless heat and fire along the way.”
On mentors:
“It’s impossible to identify just one person here at Intel who has impacted me the most from a mentorship and development perspective—because there have been so many. However, one key individual is Renee James, the current company president. Over the past 13 years, she has influenced me in many ways, but especially in how I approach decisions. She continually challenges me to not settle for an obvious answer. This has proved critical in helping me become more discerning in my decision making process and strategic acumen.
On a personal level, my uncle had the biggest impact in my personal development; most notable in my work ethic and my faith in tough love. He was a rugged Oregon farmer who believed in me more than anyone else. He always told me there was nothing that I could not achieve. He also taught me that a job is not done until it’s done. He not only taught this, but he lived it. One day he was harvesting his crop and his tractor rolled and he broke his collarbone. He took off his belt and strapped it around his arm and continued to finish tilling the field that night until the job was done. Can you imagine what kind of world we would have if we all had that kind of discipline and commitment to our jobs?”
On legacy:
“One way I attempt to do this is by being open and transparent. Part of being open and transparent is being accessible to employees, partners and customers. To this end, I do not have an office. When not in meetings, I often work from common areas or café on the Intel campus. This encourages other colleagues to stop by for a quick chat if I can be interrupted. It is amazing what I can learn from a short exchange.
I received this email from an associate recently and it personifies how I hope to be remembered in my career: “Tomorrow is my last date at Intel and of all the Intel executives I’ve communicated with in the past you are the only one who took the time to truly listen and have a genuine conversation. I wanted to tell you before leaving that I appreciate that and I wish you all the best.”
Thank you Doug!


A Note to my Daughters on Chasing down a Dream at #40

IMG_20140814_115348Dear Girls:
In honor of turning the big #40, I wanted to impart some wisdom to you that I more humbly understand today about chasing down a juicy pie in the sky vision. As you may have observed, your momma’s one of the ‘crazy dreamers’ as Steve Jobs so aptly quipped. I shoot for the stars almost every day and dream vividly about the future and ways that I can have the greatest impact on our world. But man do I get tripped up on the wrong path some days, or one too many bright, shiny objects—so I wanted to pull together some of the most tried and true rules I try to stick by on some of my better days:
Family First
Make no mistake about it; we are truly a team in training at Casa de Kelleys. I could not spread my wings so wide if it were not for the support of your dad and my husband, Tom. Every venture into a new terrain occurs because of the terra firma at our home base. This is the most important lesson about chasing down a dream—never losing sight of my most important responsibility–nurturing and cultivating love (sometimes tough love), accountability and support to those whom I ‘come home to’-the three of you.
Listen First, Ask Second
The best answers are your own answers. Take time to tune out (everything else) and tune in (to your own voice, thoughts and radical ideas). This happens for me when I am out running or working out by myself—but for you it could be something very different. Write down your thoughts and then share them with people you admire, respect or love. Listen to their feedback. They usually know you second best and the combination of this information can lead to some magical moments. Trust me.
Be an Experience Taker
Nothing thoughtfully ventured, nothing meaningfully gained. If something piques your interest consistently over time—dabble in it, read up about it, and ask around. But whatever you do, don’t drown out your heart songs.

IMG_20140625_151712Stick to the Rule of 3’s
When in doubt, always stick to the golden rule of 3—everywhere. Remain open but don’t overwhelm yourself on any kind of experimental or commitment end. Think about the beginning, middle and end of everything: Point 1,2,3. Be clear about the parameters that you commit to others in regards to your energy, attention, resources. When in doubt, under commit until you are clear on the ROI.
Pursue Niche Excellence
Once you decide to dive into something deeper (congratulations!)—set the bar high and measure yourself (gently) around those who are ‘best in class’ (remember: slow and steady wins the race). Don’t sweat the timing of it all but rather the richness and the quality of your work along the way. Work to identify which aspect of your work you are most excited about and have the most to offer. Commit yourself to further raising the bar in your corner of the world.
Surround Yourself with Stars
Read Miguel Angel Ruiz book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (it’s in my office library waiting for you). Pay attention to the feelings you have after spending time with friends and colleagues. Align yourself with those who lift you up, make your belly laugh, delight you, push you to do better, etc. And the rest, well, be kind but don’t spend more time there than is needed.

IMG_20140816_204259Cultivate Your Voice + Use It!
I struggled to find my own voice up until six years ago when I started my business. We all have our own journey—so don’t get bogged down by comparing yourself to others. Start by tuning into situations and audiences where you feel more bold and comfortable to speak up and assert yourself and practice there. Your voice will always be your most valuable tool. Treat it accordingly.

Failing is Mandatory
When I look back on some of the darker, bewildering, unsuccessful moments of my life/career—I am certain that those were the moments where my character expanded. How you respond to not reaching your goals, to being told ‘no’, to being lonely (very, very lonely—especially in your 20’s) are the most important moments for you to maintain perspective, re-evaluate your plans and adapt. Reach out for extra support and bolster your mental toughness—you will persevere and you will come out on the other end stronger, more inspired and grateful that you were pre-‘failure’. I promise, sweethearts.
Hustle (No one can take that away from you my darlings)
You have New York City in your blood (Grandma Joanie’s Brooklyn roots + your parents 7 year stints in the city)—so we expect you to carry this torch with pride on the West Coast (or wherever you will go). Yes, work smart not ‘hard’—but never, ever underestimate the power of hustling for what you want in life. And hang out with other hustlers (those with a moral compass that aligns with yours, of course).
Maintain an Open Mind + an Open Heart
No matter what you pursue or how you choose to structure your life (after college, that is)—strive to maintain an open mind and heart throughout your life. You have been born into a family, a socioeconomic status and a country that already offers you enormous privilege as you move through the world. You have an obligation to give back to the world, particularly to those who have not been afforded the same opportunities or experiences. Work for justice, for greater understanding and for love wherever you may roam.

All my love,




How Tech Visionary Michael Morris Found His #SuiteSpot

Ever wonder what makes a true visionary tick? I do and I know I am not alone. That is precisely why I interviewed fellow Boston College Eagle, Michael Morris, General Manager of TopCoder, who is hands down one of the most driven and visionary leaders I know. Take a listen to part of my interview with him for my forthcoming book, The Suite Spot:

On Career Path + Vision:

“Whether it was tinkering with my brother’s Basic computer at age 6, or developing software that had a significant impact on people’s lives while at Boston College, I always knew technology was the future and specifically my future. I have never desired to do anything else. In 2000, the high technology industry was king: I became employee #80 of a high tech consulting company called Tallan, which quickly grew to 650. Software was my passion, so as Tallan advanced, so did my career. In a short time I was managing business activities across the Northwest Region of the US. Then, the inevitable happened: Tallan was acquired at the height of the dot com bubble. Here’s the most important lesson I learned: it is very difficult to find great technology talent. Recruitment and retention are the real “ones and zeros” of the technology industry.…..It’s already evident that what we’re doing at Topcoder has changed the world and there is still so much we’ve yet to do. The drive to find a better way of doing things is what keeps me going, every day. ”

On Interviewing:
“If a candidate can’t demonstrate some degree of clarity for the next five years of their career, it’s a red flag. I am looking for potential hires to have a passion for what they are doing and where they are going. That passion has to align with the mission of our company, management and culture.”
On Negotiation:
“You have to be able to define the value of a situation by asking yourself, “What would happen if we didn’t do this? What are the other options? What would it mean to us if a competitor did this instead?””

10469696_10204428307290389_436817988041883586_n M.M. Factoid: He & wife Jessica have 4 fabulous children.

On Risk:

“You must be willing to take risks. The real key is the ability to evaluate them. First, ask yourself what is the risk of doing nothing. Second, determine the risk of getting “no” for an answer. Are you concerned with the fear of rejection, or can you take that “no” and turn it into a “yes?” I believe that “no” is actually the second best answer someone can give you, the best being “yes” and the worst being “no answer at all.” ”

On Strategy:

“You have to have great communication skills to be a successful strategist. You have to be able to understand what others are thinking and feeling. I credit my Boston College liberal arts education with helping me become a versatile manager who is able to relate, socially and academically, to others.”

Bt48EZGCcAEBhz4.jpg large

On Developing Talent:

“Find someone you can look at and say, “This person is going to become more skilled than me and I am going to help them achieve that.” A leader’s greatest responsibility is to recruit, mentor and empower people to reach their ultimate potential.
I encourage my Teams to always establish a direct line to the person at the top of a company, whether it’s a strategic partner or a client. I want them to spend time with that person in order to build a relationship and to clearly understand what is important to them, as well as what they need to solve. Organizations can be complicated, but goals and objectives should not be. If you have a line to the top you will quickly know if your goals and objectives are aligned with your leaders’ and the company’s.”

1391920_10202434905176582_929217972_nOn Decompressing:

“On Fridays around 6 p.m., when things are slowing for the weekend, I make a deliberate, mental shift to turn my work-self off. Software never sleeps; it’s a 24/7 job, but the time I take to recharge makes me a better leader. I have an incredible partner (that’s Jessica, my wife, to the left) at home, my wife, who is honest and forthright. When I am not giving the family the time that they—or I—deserve and need, she helps refocus priorities. I have learned to recognize the signs when I need to really break off to avoid burnout. When our children start playing sports or activities, I want to help coach and be there for as many events as possible. The time is quickly coming when my work travel will be dictated by their schedules and I welcome it!”
On legacy:

“Crowdsourcing for cloud development is here to stay. We were early out of the gate and are so close to making it the new “global norm”. It’s incredibly exciting to be driving an evolution that will forever be a part of history.”



How NBA Ref Joe Crawford Found His #SuiteSpot

bos_g_crawford_sy_200I have had the privilege of knowing ‘Joey Crawford’, one of the NBA’s most recognizable and (mostly) beloved refs ever since he moved his daughter, Amy into our freshman dorm at Boston College over twenty years ago.  Attending NBA games where he is reffing is always a ‘theatrical experience’ as surrounding fans are never lacking in an opinion on Joe’s calls.  Upon watching him ref a recent game in Portland in the Playoff Season, I realized he would be a perfect leader to profile in my forthcoming book, The Suite Spot.

When I spoke with Joe he was preparing to fly to New Mexico to receive the highest referee award—the 2014 Gold Whistle Award. This award is given to one referee a year based on their impact in the national community and how much they give back to the game of officiating. Joe was still in disbelief that he had earned this award as he recalls being in awe of the prior recipients. Joe reflected on the fact that he speaks to many, many groups but preparing for this acceptance speech felt particularly daunting:

On Leadership:
“In the officiating world, when you get to where I am—you have been very, very lucky and worked the top NBA games. It’s easy to lose perspective about the impact you are making because you get so insulated in the community of the NBA itself. However, recently, I was coaching a group of kids down in Lafayette, LA and we stopped into a pizza joint after a long day. Two guys walked up to me and very excitedly explained that they were local referees and that they had been watching me ref games for years now. They went on and on about how much I meant to them as a mentor.
This admission just blew me away and reinforced to me the responsibility I have to refs like those guys in Louisiana to be a role model. It can be all-encompassing when you are traveling with your crew—you spend the days leading up to a game watching tape, in meetings, doing everything you can to study the players and making sure you are going to be totally ready to give the game your absolute best. I try to convey this responsibility to the refs around me that it’s not just about a game—it’s about our bosses, the NBA, the millions of fans watching your every move. And the challenge is not to go overboard trying to be perfect. Everyone thinks you are so imperfect—that you try to overcompensate by being ever so cautious about your every move.”


4687400On Passion:
“There’s a guy named Al Battista who acts a referee observer at our games. One day, a bystander commented to Al, “I am a 25 year ticket holder and I just love watching Joe Crawford . He really does his job. And he exudes passion.”
I was so taken aback by this admission, Katie—because that’s all I really want to do—share my absolute love for this game. Do I want to be a perfect ref? Of course—but that’s not possible—but I can spread my love for this game.”
On Legacy:
“For other Refs to say “I could put this guy on any game and he worked well with people and helped make them better.” It can be such a negative profession—having to constantly hold people accountable for their behavior—that the challenge can be remembering how to make a positive impact.
By April, we have reffed about 75 games and we are about to head into the playoffs—the crew is beyond exhausted. And I can just see the younger refs wondering, “What’s Joe going to talk about now?” in our pre and post game debrief meetings. I am really driven to get everyone around me to perform and that isn’t always what everyone around you wants to be doing—that’s where I really serve.”

jp-crawford-articleLargeWhat drove you?
“Here’s a perfect story to sum that question up—I was finishing up my 8th grade Catholic School Year with about 60 kids in my class. I was a mediocre student, but Sister Joanne announced, “We are giving the ‘Effort Award’ to Joseph Crawford because he works hard and has a low IQ!” I thought to myself, ‘hey, I am proud as hell!” I could not wait to get home that afternoon and yelled to my mom, “Hey, ma, I got the Effort Award—look at this!” She took one glance at the description and yelled, “You down have a low IQ!” and I said to her, “What’s an IQ?” Ha!!!!
The point being—I knew I would never be the top student—but I realized very early on that if I worked hard at whatever was important to me—I would be able to get far enough in life. My dad was a baseball empire and I wanted to follow in this footsteps but I had no idea it would turn out so good. I got to marry the woman I always wanted to and I get to share my love for the game of basketball with my incredible three daughters and growing list of grandchildren—I am a truly blessed man.”


Thank YOU Joe Crawford and congratulations on receving the Gold Whistle Award next week!!




3 Tips for Disovering Your Next (Career) Act

butterflyMost of the men and women whom I work with are struggling to understand which part of their work/life needs some tinkering in order to flow towards their realized, or sometimes unrealized, vision. The gold lies in the three gifts that I can help them uncover: clarity, influence and fortune. But the road to attain these elusive gifts can be painful and confusing. Here are some tips from some of my favorite confidants on how to unearth your next career act:

1) Expect the unexpected. Career Coach Shari Sambursky of Career-Esteem offers this wise advice to people on a vision quest: “Signs from the universe are all around you, they may come in the form of the promotion you were hoping for that didn’t come through, or doors being closed to opportunity to advance in your current job. While these may seem like grave disappointments, they may, in fact, be the blessing in disguise guiding you toward your purpose. The key is to recognize the signs, the nudges, and act on them. Acknowledging there is a deeper purpose for you and recognizing the excuses you are making around staying where you are is the first step.”

2) Make visioning a daily habit. And look for your calling for this particular stage of your life: Before a former client, Chef Teri set about finding her deeper purpose, she was working in the marketing department at Nike. It took her a while to get into the habit of vision crafting, but in the end she saw a clear picture of where she really wanted to be in her life, a self-employed caterer:

“It wasn’t so much an `aha’ moment–the decision to trade my glamorous, high salaried, secure job for hours of working on my feet, the aching back and the calloused hands that are an everyday part of food service. It happened in baby steps. First it was the burnout. I wasn’t doing what I was meant to be doing at that time in my life because I was no longer good at it, no longer loved it, and had no energy for it. My identity had been based on my career in footwear for my entire adult life, but it had become toxic for me. My plan was to make a career change. It was the loved ones who know me best that convinced me it was time to pursue my outlandish dream to cook for people. Once I started doing that, the world opened up. I was creative in ways I never dreamt. Of course success followed, and more dreams took shape. I found myself again. For me, it’s always about finding my calling for the stage of life that I’m in. I can’t wait for the next one.”

3) Use pain as your motivator. Organizing Expert Suzie Sandoval of OrganiZEN sheds light on the value of pain for those engaged in visioning: “So many people are thirsting for their passion and purpose in life but don’t believe, make time or value this innate ability that exists within us all. Most often the path to find this deeply seeded passion that fulfills you requires putting on your warrior hat and taking a discerning look at your pains in life because when you connect with your pains, your Soul Spirit evolves. You learn more about who you are, why you are the way you are, and it provides the opportunity to invite gentleness and compassion into your life.” She goes on to say how gentleness and compassion can lead you to teach, share and connect more intimately with others. When you share your pain, you unburden yourself and draw friends, family and colleagues into a sphere in influence where gratitude, peace and bliss reside.

***Tell us your story about how you have unearthed your next career act and if these tips were familiar to you. And be sure to check out our “School’s Out for Summer” Leadership Academy Sale going on this month: 3 online classes for just $50.00. All classes will be closed for the year on July 4th. So get them now before they are gone!